Intestinal obstruction is a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through your small intestine or large intestine.
Obstruction of the bowel may due to:
A mechanical cause (something blocking the way):
Adhesions or scar tissue that forms after surgery
Tumorsblocking the intestines
Ileus, a condition in which the bowel doesn't work correctly but there is no structural problem
Bacteria or viruses that cause intestinal infections
Chemical, electrolyte, or mineral imbalances
Complications of abdominal surgery
Decreased blood supply to the intestines
Infections inside the abdomen, such as appendicitis
Kidney or lung disease
Use of certain medications, especially narcotics
Signs and symptoms of intestinal obstruction include:
Abdominal pain and cramping
Inability to have a bowel movement or pass gas
Swelling of the abdomen (distention)
Treatment for intestinal obstruction depends on the cause of your condition, but generally requires hospitalization.
Most bowel obstructions are partial blockages that get better on their own. Some may need more treatment. These treatments include using liquids or air (enemas) or small mesh tubes (stents) to open up the blockage. Surgery is almost always needed when the intestine is completely blocked or when the blood supply is cut off.
Complications may include or may lead to: